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March 28, 2007


Ted Leo talks to the New York Observer about his musical influences.

“In a weird way, I credit my parents,” Mr. Leo says about his influences. “They had this amazing record collection. I became obsessed with the Who, and I would hear them trying different things out [like] a James Brown cover, and I could tell that those songs were something different. I am exceptionally not religious, but the spirituality of artists like Curtis Mayfield or Al Green has always affected me in a very serious and deep way. I definitely listen to more old music than new music.”

The Cold War Kids talk religion and indie rock with the Baltimore Sun.

While religious-themed acts such as Stryper and Creed represent the lowest form of music in indie circles, "cooler" artists such as Bob Marley and U2 get a pass on references to God.

The issue is touchy for the band, particularly since the release of Robbers and Cowards in October. In an interview, drummer Matt Aveiro did not want to respond point for point to criticism of lyrics, but the comments clearly irked him.

Former Suede frontman Brett Anderson talks to the Argus about his solo career.

"I've rediscovered my sexual writing," says Anderson of his solo work in general.

"I ignored it for a while. The first Suede album is pretty much about sex and depression in equal measure. I want to get to the point," he jokes, "where I'm basically just writing pornography."

My Old Kentucky Blog has new Birdmonster songs.

The Ottawa Citizen points out an upcoming graphic novel featuring Avril Lavigne as a character.

The "Japanese Manga"-style graphic novel, which depicts Ms. Lavigne as an imaginary friend of the main character, is one of the stranger promotion tools being worked into the album launch.

Minnesota Public Radio features an in-studio performance from Cloud Cult.

Harp profiles the long-running television music program, Austin City Limits.

CocoRosie's Sierra Casady talks to Drowned in Sound.

Trading hard facts for surreal magic, Sierra's own encounter with the classical world - as an aspiring opera singer - goes some way to explain CocoRosie's motivation to do so. "I've had a unique history as a singer," she confesses. "Experimenting in a lot of different genres and opera, I guess, has been one of my heaviest experiences. It's quite a twisted environment and society in the music world."

NPR is streaming last night's performance by singer-songwriter Nellie McKay.

WOXY has launched The Futurist, their "independent rock blog."

New Yorker music critic Alex Ross talks to the 92 Y blog about his forthcoming book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century.

KN: You have a book coming out on 20th century music. Could you give us a preview of what it covers?

AR: It’s called The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, and it will be published in October 2007 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. It address a basic question: why, when paintings of Picasso and Jackson Pollock go for a hundred million dollars or more on the art market and lines from T. S. Eliot are quoted on the yearbook pages of alienated teenagers across the land, is twentieth-century classical music still considered obscure and difficult? In fact, it’s better known than most people realize. Post-1900 music is all over Hollywood soundtracks, modern jazz, alternative rock. The minimalism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass has had a huge impact on rock, pop, and dance music from the Velvet Underground to Aphex Twin. What I want to do is to provide an intelligent introduction to this fabulous, labyrinthine world: not just the music itself, from Schoenberg and Stravinsky onward, but the entire cultural and social tumult around it: the Rite of Spring riot, the interaction of composers and jazz people in the twenties, the entanglement of composers in totalitarian regimes, the weird intersections of post-WWII avant-garde composers and Cold War politics, the origins of minimalism in the alternative philosophies of the West Coast. It’s not so much a history of twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century told through music.

Condalmo interviews Joseph Coulson, author of Of Song and Water.

M: Finally, given the role of music in this story, I'd like to borrow a page from the fine Largehearted Boy site and ask you about some of the music that would comprise your "soundtrack" for this book - jazz that you listened to while writing it, that informed and inspired the story, that you would envision being on Of Song and Water - The Soundtrack.

J: Coltrane's "A Love Supreme"; Chet Baker's "My Funny Valentine"; Joe Pass playing Duke Ellington; Kenny Burrell, "D.B. Blues" and "Summertime," and Wes Montgomery, "Bumpin' on Sunset" and "Down Here on the Ground." Just to confuse people, I might toss in Willie's Nelson's renditions of "Stardust" and "September Song."

UGO interviews Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne.

Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes talks to Billboard.

He readily acknowledges some of the criticisms. "When you're an 18-year-old kid, writing songs ... all I could ever do is write from the point where I was at as best as I could ... Maybe the same people that would hear one of those records would like our new record. And vice versa -- I've definitely heard a complaint that, for our older fans, the music's not emotional enough."

Comic Book Bin offers part one of its history of DC Comics.

Adam Musick of Southern Bitch talks to Greensboro's Yes! Weekly.

Musick doesn't hesitate to acknowledge the band's debt to the Drive-By-Truckers, whose 2001 album Southern Rock Opera led to a critical reassessment of the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

"The Drive-By Truckers are real close," Musick says. "They're really good friends of ours. As far as Southern rock, they really paved the way as a touring band."

Paste reviews John Sellers' memoir, Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life:

see also: Sellers' Book Notes contribution for the book

The Ade Evening News offers a "guide to being an indie snob."

CMT lists spring and summer US music festivals, along with scheduled performers.

Slate examines the inevitable slow death of the music CD.

Is the CD dying as a commercial product? Sure. But it's got a lot of dying left to do. And in the meantime, there's still money to be made selling discs loaded with the music of Josh Groban, Alban Berg, and Rod Stewart.

Daytrotter's Monday session featured a performance and interview with Owen.

On his latest videocast, Merlin Mann interviews Mountain Goats bassist Peter Hughes.

Kevin Guilfoile talks to the Book Standard about th Moning News' annual Tournament of Books.

"This year, we specifically chose a graphic novel to throw into the mix and we did it because we think that graphic novels are never included in the conversation when people talk about the year's best fiction," Guilfoile said. "The Pride of Baghdad [by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon,] lost in the first round to [Thomas Pynchon's] Against the Day, but we're happy that we at least had an opportunity to discuss it as an outstanding piece of fiction and not just a comic book from grown-ups."

see also: Guilfoile's Book Notes contribution for his book, Cast of Shadows

It's "memoir week" at Slate.

Paul Weller talks to Harp about his 4-disc box set, Hit Parade.

Pelican's Trevor DeBrauw is interviewed by Drowned in Sound

Just how difficult do people find categorising the music you make? On one hand it is influenced by metal, but it possesses amazing subtleties that most metal bands, and post-rock bands for that matter, simply can’t achieve. Just what do you make of the ‘instrumetal’ tag?

I think people use genres and tags to serve a purpose – it gives people a frame of reference to understand music by – but I don’t think any artist feels comfortable being tagged as anything. I have an affinity or metal, but I don’t think of Pelican as a metal band. So when people call us ‘instrumetal’, or post-metal, or metalcore or whatever, I can see why they say that, but it’s not something that I feel a close connection with. I feel we’re part of a community with some bands – Mono are good friends of ours, but I don’t feel that we’re that similar musically. Their music is more similar to classical music, whereas I feel ours has more in common with punk and hardcore. I feel like we’re part of a trajectory of Midwest bands that kind of blend aggression with a pop sensibility, so while it’s easy to classify us with instrumental bands, we’re not instrumental by design. We just didn’t know how to put vocals in our music and for it to sound right. When you start a band, you don’t have it in mind to be an instrumental band – these things are afterthoughts when your music’s out there.

10 Zen Monkeys lists the six "freakiest children's TV rock bands."

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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